Union Station turns 75: the video

Here’s another video from Saturday’s festivities for the 75th anniversary of Union Station. There’s some nice footage that gives you an idea of the flavor of the day and the seriously big crowds that descended upon Union Station.

U.S. House subcommittee proposes deep cuts to federal funding for transit projects

This is the latest chapter in what has been an annual debate on what the federal government should be spending on helping local areas build and maintain transportation infrastructure. It’s important to Metro because the federal government has been — and hopefully will continue to be — a funding partner on a variety of projects, including the Crenshaw/LAX Line (with a $545.9-million federally backed loan), the Regional Connector (a federal New Starts grant and loan) and the Purple Line Extension (a $1.25-billion New Starts grant for Phase One that is near to being finalized and an $856-million loan).

Here’s the latest update from Metro’s government relations staff:

Earlier today, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development released the outlines of its Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill in advance of the subcommittee’s markup set for tomorrow.

While the outline of the bill does not list specific projects slated for funding, it does give spending levels for transportation programs which benefit our agency. The bill sets the spending level for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants (New Starts) program at $1.69 billion which is $252 million less than the funding provided last year.

Additionally, the House transportation bill cuts TIGER grant funding from $600 million this year to $100 million in Fiscal Year 2015. Further, the House bill would, if enacted into law, not allow TIGER grants to be used for mass transit and passenger rail projects.

Our Government Relations staff have been and will continue working with members of both the Senate and House Committee on Appropriations to ensure that the $100 million allocated in the President’s Budget for each of our New Starts projects (Downtown Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension) is fully funded when the House and Senate adopt their final transportation spending bill later this year. Our staff will also work to ensure that the TIGER grant program is fully funded and that mass transit and passenger rail projects continue to be eligible for grants under this program.


Metro Service Council meetings for May begin Wednesday

This month’s slate of Service Council meetings kicks off tomorrow evening (Wednesday, May 7) in Van Nuys with the San Fernando Valley Council’s meeting. Please note that changes may be made to meeting agendas, including potential new topics, prior to meeting dates. For the latest Service Council meeting agendas check the agenda listings web page at metro.net.

All May Council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer, providing monthly and year-to-date statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. Other topics for Service Council meetings this month include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 5/7) – Update on the Bus Stop Usability Study; Update on Orange Line Fare Enforcement.

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 5/8) – Update on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project; Report on Electronic Messaging of Transit Information.

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 5/9) – Update on the Redondo Beach Station Refurbishment; Update on Bus Stop Changes associated with Crenshaw Rail Construction.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 5/12) – Update on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project; Report on El Monte Busway Construction Project.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 5/14) – Update on Bus Stop Changes associated with Crenshaw Rail Construction; Presentation on Metro’s Construction Notification Process.

For a listing of the dates, times and locations of all five Service Council meetings, click here. For more information about each service council, click on the name of the service council listed above.

All service councils welcome and encourage public participation. If you would like to comment at any of the meetings, please fill out a speaker card when you arrive, noting the specific item you are there to address.  General comments on issues that aren’t on the agenda are taken as a part of the “public comment” section of the agenda.

If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to servicecouncils@metro.net.  If your comments are for a specific council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing.

More photos from Union Station’s 75th anniversary celebration

Another set of photos from Union Station this morning and afternoon; here is another set of photos from earlier. Click to see a larger version of a photo. All photos by Juan Ocampo for Metro.

The first wave of photos from today’s Union Station 75th anniversary celebration

A little warm weather on Saturday didn’t keep crowds at bay as thousands of people descended on Union Station for the building’s 75th anniversary celebration that featured live music, train exhibitions, speeches from dignitaries and a lot of folks who apparently wished it was 1939 all over again.

The above photos are just a small slice of today’s activities. Here are even more photos! Click on any of the above photos to see a larger version.

February 2015 release of SR-710 North draft environmental documents announced

Here is the news release from Metro and Caltrans:

The draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the State Route 710 North Study will be released for public comment in February 2015, Metro and Caltrans announced today. 

In response to community stakeholders who asked for additional time to consider the draft documents, the public review period also will be doubled from 45 to 90 days. Metro and Caltrans want to give the public ample opportunity to study and comment on the series of complex documents for addressing traffic and environmental impacts within east/northeast Los Angeles, the western San Gabriel Valley and the region generated by a 4 ½ mile gap in the original 710 Freeway design that exists between Alhambra and Pasadena.

The draft EIR/EIS will thoroughly analyze five alternatives – Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail Transit, Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management, a freeway tunnel, and a No Build option. Altogether, approximately  50 technical documents will thoroughly analyze traffic, noise, air quality, a health risk assessment, energy effects and other variables.

The data is being processed through a regional travel demand model that predicts future (2035) traffic through analysis of projected travel patterns considering such factors as population and employment growth, goods movement, land use changes and other variables.

Metro and Caltrans are fully committed to ensure that the public has a voice in the process. Detailed analysis for each alternative will be incorporated in the SR 710 North Study draft EIR/EIS. For updates on the revised schedule and project background, go to metro.net/sr710study or facebook.com/sr710study or follow on Twitter @sr710study.


Zocalo Public Square to host forum Wednesday on 710 gap and regional mobility        

Update on release of SR-710 environmental documents

SR-710: What’s on the table and what’s off the table

Cool, new interactive Metro Information Tower debuts at Union Station

Kiosk (2 of 4)

Kiosk (4 of 4)

If you’re visiting Union Station on Saturday for the 75th anniversary festivities, please check out the new Metro Information Tower that looks a little like the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey” but doesn’t leave you guessing about its purpose in life.

The 17-foot tall interactive kiosk in the Union Station East Portal – there’s only one up and running so far but other, smaller demo kiosks will be around Union Station tomorrow — just might turn out to be your go-to travel tool. Please see the video posted below.

Touchscreen displays include a station guide, a timeline of Union Station history, nearby Metro Destination Discounts that are available to TAP card holders, Nextrip real-time arrivals, the Metro Trip Planner, Metro transit schedules and maps and variable options this weekend including Instagram uploads of Union Station photos hash-tagged with #LAUS75.

On May 3, the demo kiosk near the Information Booth in Union Station will run the only known footage of the 1939 Union Station opening. It was shot by famed Jiminy Cricket animator Ward Kimball.

Metro is also planning to install more touchscreen displays in the future at other Metro Rail stations as part of the Interactive Kiosk Pilot Program.


Here’s the lineup of entertainment for Union Station’s 75th anniversary

Metro announces new 75th anniversary commemorative TAP cards